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Neil Kennett-Brown is the Managing Director at NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group. He has worked in the NHS for over 15 years in a variety of senior commissioning roles, including London Ambulance Service, leading large scale transformation programmes for NHS England and CCGs in north east London.

What don’t we know?

 Around 20 years ago I was sent to Japan. Not in exile - I very much wanted to go - but on a government-sponsored secondment to learn Japanese management techniques, with a view to bringing these back to the UK.  It was a fantastic experience, and one from which I learnt a lot.

Back then, I worked for a large manufacturing firm and it was very different to the NHS, where I have now worked for over 15 years. However, that trip to Japan had lots of similarities to my job now as Managing Director for both Bexley and Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Groups.

In both healthcare and industry, there are always things we don’t know, and the best way to get answers is to go and talk to people. 

In Bexley we are always talking with our local community and involving them in all the different stages of our business: from planning, designing, procuring and monitoring through to delivering new and improved services.  This helps us to understand what works well and what doesn’t work in our local services.  It’s also vital to helping us improve patient experience in the future.

We talk to residents in a variety of ways, such as our Patient Council, or speaking to people when they attend events such as the Welling Community Fun Day that was held on 22 June.

Our conversations so far have been incredibly useful, and I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has been involved. It’s helped us to identify four key priorities for health and wellbeing in Bexley: mental health, children and young people, frailty, and preventing ill health.

We know that we need to do far better to make services joined up, for example by trying to reduce the number of times you need to repeat your ailments to health professionals. . We also know we need to help GPs, nurses and others who work outside of hospital to be able to offer more services. By doing, so we hope to avoid unnecessary trips for people to A&E when care is needed urgently, as well as time-consuming trips to hospital for appointments which could happen closer to home.

However, there’s still a lot we don’t know, including how the NHS can work better across the whole of south east London. That’s what we’re going to be discussing at our event on 15 July at the Bexleyheath Marriott, and we’d love for you to join us.

From 12:00-14:30 we’re going to be talking about better health in Bexley overall, then from 15:30-17:30 we’ll be focusing particularly on access to services across South East London.

We realise that everyone has busy lives, so you’re very welcome to come to one part, if you can’t manage both. If that day doesn’t work for you, there’s also a range of other events you can join us at across south east London in July and August, or you can fill in our quick survey. You can find all of the information at the ‘Our Healthier South East London’ website.

Thanks to everyone who has talked to us so far, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.